In Victoria, if a person prepares an Alternative Solution, now referred to in BCA 2016 as a Performance Solution, it is considered design work, and the relevant building surveyor must be independent of this process.
The Building Act 1993 precludes a private building surveyor from accepting an appointment if they were involved in the design.
Therefore, the person preparing the ‘Alternative Solution’ must not be the Relevant Building Surveyor assessing the building permit application.
The person preparing the Performance Solution / Alternative Solution would normally hold registration as a design practitioner in the appropriate category (the easy example is the registered and competent Fire Safety Engineer preparing the fire engineered solution).
But in the case of access related issues, there is no current category or class of building practitioner registration for disability access consultants, unless the person preparing it is an architect, engineer, building surveyor, draftsperson or other registered building practitioner, who may not have the right level of expertise in accessibility matters.
When it comes to Performance Solutions / Alternative Solutions relating to access provisions of the NCC (BCA) and the Premises Standards, the Relevant Building Surveyor / Building Certifier must ensure that the person preparing the Performance Solutions / Alternative Solution has specific qualifications, competence, experience and insurance for that design. There are no minimum standards for this documented anywhere as yet, and it is up to each Relevant Building Surveyor / Building Certifier to be comfortable and satisfied that the Access Consultant who prepared the Performance Solutions / Alternative Solution has the right level of competency, experience and is Accredited with the ACAA.
By Lee Wilson, Disability Access Consultant / DDA Consultant, Melbourne, Victoria. Lee is an Accredited Member of the Association of Consultants in Access, Australia Inc.